An Israeli army reserve in the Gaza Strip, which has been at the forefront of the ground war against Hamas, will not deploy to the Strip after Israel’s military announced on Tuesday that it had withdrawn the unit from the region, the military said.
“The reserve will not have any role in operations,” the statement read.
The announcement came a day after Hamas fired a missile at Israel from the southern town of Beit Lahiya, the first time the Islamist movement had fired at the Jewish state in nearly a month.
The army said it was retaliating for the incident.
Israel has launched a series of airstrikes against the Islamist militants in the region in recent days.
Israel has also launched air raids and ground raids on Hamas targets in the southern Gaza Strip.
The army said in a statement that the units would remain in the area to “protect the population and defend the country from terror attacks.”
The IDF has launched several airstrikes against Hamas targets over the past few weeks, including several attacks in which dozens of civilians were killed and hundreds wounded.
Israel says Hamas targets are responsible for more than 1,100 deaths.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied that the attacks were a retaliation against Israel.
“The rockets and the mortar fire are against all our people and our military, including the IDF, and our soldiers will not return to Gaza,” he told Al Jazeera.
The Israeli military said in October that it was deploying around 2,500 reservists to Gaza, but they are not expected to be deployed into combat until after the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Strip.
“We have decided to redeploy the reserve units, which are not part of the IDF or any other armed force in the world, to the north-east and south-east,” the military statement said.
“They will be deployed as soon as the necessary decision is taken and the decision is made for them to move out of Gaza.”
Hamas has been in power in Gaza since 2007 and has been battling Israel since 2014.